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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Weird Weekend 2011

Centre for Fortean Zoology 2011
trip to Devon and talk on British UFOs given by John Hanson co-author of the ‘Haunted Skies’ series, and Kevin Goodman author of UFO over Warminster-Cradle of Contact ‘published by CFZ Press held at their Weird Weekend Woolsery near Bideford, North Devon.

CFZ is believed to be the largest professional, scientific and full-time organisation in the world dedicated to cryptozoology - the study of unknown animals and has carried out an unparalleled program of research and investigation all over the world since 1992. They are a non-profit and non salaried making organisation, any monies earned or donated are used to facilitate further research. It is run from Myrtle Cottage, Woolsery, Bideford, North Devon, and incorporates CFZ Press.

The Publisher Jon Downes has published over 80 books from authors such as Nick Redfern, and Andy Roberts and is now our publisher, they describe the Weird Weekend as, “the largest yearly gathering of mystery animal investigators in the English-speaking world. Having run unbroken for seven years, the convention attracts speakers and visitors from all over the world and showcases the findings of strange phenomena investigators”.

Speakers who attended:

Professor Bryan Sykes: David Hume, Joanna Lumley and the Abominable Snowman
Dr Darren Naish: Sea monsters and the 'Prehistoric Survivor Paradigm
Lee Walker: The rabbit-killing goblin of Merseyside

Matt Salusbury: Hunting Pygmy Elephants in India
Adam Davies:On the track of the Orang Pendek
Kevin Goodman: The Warminster Triangle (he is on the right!)

John Hanson/Dawn Holloway: The Haunted Skies project
Glen Vaudrey: The Waterhorse
Peter Christie: Fortean North Devon
Max Blake/Dr Darren Naish: The new British Lynx

Henry Hartley: Fortean aspects of the modern Maya
Nick Wadham: Giant spiders
Richard Freeman et al: The India expedition
Ronan Coghlan: The Labours of Hercules (shown on the right)

Knowing that our colleague, Kevin Goodman, UFO researcher and author of Warminster Cradle of Contact, was talking at the event (he has been keeping the ‘Warminster flame’ burning, for some years, with organised sky watches held on Cradle Hill) we invited him to stay over at our house on the Friday night, so we could travel down together to Devon on the Saturday morning.

One may presume that, after many years of intensive research into the UFO subject, we may have been inclined to have discussed all manner of other World pressing affairs, but I am pleased to say that the conversation was soon alive with the vibrancies of long forgotten UFO sightings plucked out of our memories assisted by a glass of heady red wine.After Dawn (who had been working late) joined us, we sat down and enjoyed even more intoxicating accounts of life during the halcyon days of the 1970s, when Kevin and Arthur Shuttlewood stood on the slopes of the hill waiting for a UFO to appear.

After driving down on the Saturday morning - still fully occupied with discourse on the UFO subject - we finally arrived, where we introduced Kevin to our Publisher and now good friend, Jon Downes, and his delightful wife, Corinna, who were being assisted by their team that included Deputy Director Graham, Inglis, Oll Lewis, author Richard Freeman,

and young David Braund-Phillips - ‘a wizard of computer technology’ - who weaved his magic, once again, to ensure that everything went smoothly during the Power Point presentation.

The schedule of events can be found on the internet, along with details relating to who spoke about what; suffice to say the majority of those talks included fascinating accounts of giant insects, sea monsters, the new British Lynx and a host of other rare and strange creatures that time has almost forgotten, but thanks to CFZ and their speakers they live again! We grabbed a cup of tea and walked into the adjacent room, where we were delighted to see that Lionel Beer,

of Space-link Books, had set up shop and was chatting to another veteran UFO researcher, Sidney Henley, who also had his book store set up.

There was also a table set up by a representative of Fortean Times - presumably the same young man that came over, later, and spoke to us about how Haunted Skies had come to fruition.

At the end of the room there was ‘Billy’ the dog, perched on the table; next to that were a group of young children, being entertained by Dave Curtis and his family.(This didn’t quite beat the performance of a certain spaniel dog that sat in the audience on his owners lap for some hours listening to the lectured given on the 30th Anniversary of the Rendlesham Forest Incident at Woodbridge Community Hall which was attended byLarry Warren, Peter Robins, Brenda Butler, Dot Street Jim Penniston and John Burroughs! That was weird….)!

After chatting to Dave, who spoke again about the triangular-shaped UFO he saw gliding through the sky, while on the way to the Hall last year, which earned some publicity in the local newspaper, we listened in on Kevin’s speech.

Then it was questions and answers, one lady from Warminster suggested the strange noises described by Kevin heard might have been from a sleeping tramp while a gentleman wondered if the Tank lid that fell onto Arthurs head during his Army service (causing a detached retina) may have caused Arthur to hallucinate what he saw. Definitely not said Kevin! -On both accounts

On the Sunday morning, after putting up a tent for Kevin, we made our way to the Hall at approximately 12.30pm, and sat down in the bar, next to the canteen, and discussed what I was going to talk about, as I’m never sure myself until I actually stand on the floor and start talking! I don’t like set routines, as they can be boring, in my opinion, especially if the same old speech is given, time and time again.

UFO sighted over the Avebury Stones Wiltshire - I began by telling the audience how Dawn and I had struggled to get the Haunted Skies books published and of the trials and tribulations we had faced over the years since we had started in 1995.My talk included a reference to John Andrews a special Constable from the Warwickshire Police who was returning from a business trip late one evening when he saw a strange object descend over the stones at Avebury and appear to land.

He decided not to stop and continued on his journey. As he neared Moreton-in –the- Marsh he became aware that he was being followed by another vehicle. After stopping at the traffic lights in the village he was approached by a man with an American accent who got out of a left hand vehicle which was showing a flashing green light on the top parked behind him. The man who was dressed as security officer wearing a white shirt and black tie asked John if he had seen anything strange. John told him about the incident he had witnessed in Avebury and was then threatened to keep quite after John admitted he had seen the UFO.

Strange Anomalies seen

I then spoke about the strange anomalies both seen and captured on camera at Rendlesham Forest and showed the audience several of the stones we had collected, along with a number of early UFO magazines and various photographs.

UFO over RAF Farnborough
- I then outlined a remarkable sighting of a UFO from retired RAF OfficerStan Hubbard who witnessed along with others a strange object ‘like a flying discus’ rocking from side to side over the runway at RAF Farnborough in 1950” Stan was to witness another sighting on the 5th of September 1950 and was later interviewed by members of the Scientific Intelligence Dep’t. Many years later their report was unearthed from MOD files when it was discovered the official explanation was hallucinations or misidentifications! - Incredible but true!

I then spoke about ex RAF Officer James Salandin and his UFO sighting in 1954 while over Southend which was later brought to the attention of Prince Philip.

UFO over Northampton October 1994
- I was going to also discuss an incident that had occurred in 1994 when a Police Officer sighted a UFO over the lakes while fishing. The officer later reported that he had been threatened and that his wife had been followed by mysterious strangers. The threats included open ones down a telephone. The officer also told me that he had been harassed by other Officers and that he was the victim of at least three hit and run car accidents. The registration plates had not yet been used!

The Officer also received medical treatment for severe headaches that culminated in a scan at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford when itwas established he had some scars on his brain.The surgeon asked him had he ever had an operation before which he hadn’t. If you took this case on its individual merits it may appear difficult to believe, but this was not the first or last time we were too heard of medical problems apparently stemming from a UFO encounter.

I decided against running the tape interview because of the attitude of one young man I had discussed the case with initially. I felt I could not trust him to keep what I had told him as confidential in nature, and didn’t want him listening to the interview.

Fortunately, on this occasion, I managed to show (albeit at speed) at least 50images on the PowerPoint to the audience, in contrast to the Newcastle Conference, when I showed only two images out of a one hundred. I am sure that Matt Lyons, from BUFORA, who has invited us to BUFORA’s lecture next year, in London, will be happy to hear that

After the talk and the winding up of the day’s events, when Dawn and I were surprised to be given one of the CFZ Golden Monkey awards, with accompanying certificate, we made our way to the Farmers Arms Public House, where we sat down and discussed the weekend events with Brenda and Mick, who had also made the journey there.

We then made our way back to the caravan where Dawn prepared a delicious meal, followed by an equally as delicious Aunt Bessie Lemon Meringue pie (purchased by myself) It was found most palatable except for the fact that the pastry crust seemed very soft. An examination of the said instructions revealed (after we had eaten it) that it should have been cooked! We then retired to bed after spending a short time gazing up into a beautiful night sky, with the Milky Way clearly defined, feeling more than satisfied with how the weekend had gone - especially after Kevin had been promised, by Jon, that UFO over Warminster and other books were going to be republished.

On the Monday morning we packed up and sat having a cup of coffee whilethe tranquillity of every day ‘camping life’ began with a game of cricket and the squeals of children excited to be on holiday, A lady from a nearby camper van came over and asked us cordially how the holiday was going when we told her the reason for the visit she remarked how weird we were!

So another CFZ Weird Weekend has come and gone. This was our second visit and we certainly enjoyed it - Long may it live as a family affair, because this is what makes it so enjoyable. Well done to Jon Downes, and his family, for putting it all together, and thank you Kevin for what we now perceive to be the start of a warm friendship.

We look forward to 2012.

More photos.......
I wondered what in earth this was?

It was a double exposure on a digital camera? unusual......

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